Paul Dunmall / Philip Gibbs / Trevor Taylor – New Atmospheres


These intriguing creations were taped in Essex, in 2012. Both the press release and the cover declare three improvisations, but in reality the disc contains four (actually, the fourth track sounds like a different take, with a clearer mix, of the third). Dunmall, Gibbs and Taylor — respectively, saxophone/flute, electro-acoustic guitar, acoustic and electric percussion — provide the listener with melodic luminosity, spirited visions, the right dose of difficulty, and even a bit of introspectiveness when the moment requires it.

“Atmos 1”, with Dunmall magnificently employing the flute in a rather uncommon event, is informed by a general lightness of touch within surroundings oddly reminiscent of the pastoral tendencies of certain British bands of the 70s. Gibbs is both delicate and penetrating at the same time, while Taylor lets synthetic fragments shimmer in between his ingenious drum figurations. The excitement increases throughout the first half of “Atmos 2”: atonal sax spirals are complemented by a harder hand on the guitar strings, the instrument subjected to broken strumming and plucked dissonant chords. The drums get interlaced with the purpose of discarding patterns and symmetries, before resorting to the glowing qualities of percussive tunefulness in the second part, as everything turns softer and deliciously intelligible. “Atmos 3” begins with a slightly obsessive solo by Gibbs, gradually joined by his comrades as he starts dealing with see-through textures and unruly fingerings. Taylor utilizes — among others — marimba, steel drum and accordion sonorities, Dunmall hints to whispered phrases soon metamorphosed into a concoction of capricious mini-bursts and lyrical reflections. The entire piece is played with an uneasy balance of timbres and dynamics, and probably constitutes the album’s peak.

An entertaining session of highly individual talents fusing their creative reactivity with class, sensibility and — why not — humor, New Atmospheres should not be overlooked by any means.